I had spent a couple of weeks in Torekov with my children and my girlfriend Jennifer. The return to our routine was coming up soon and I couldn’t leave Sweden without taking part in the Öloppet Swimrun again.
Those first days of vacation the weather had been wonderful, sunny and hot but, from one second to another, the summer faded and turned into autumn: cold, cloudy, rainy and with winds of up to 30 knots. That was our forecast for Saturday’s race. Imagine nothing else!
The day before the race I had a healthy muesli for breakfast that I prepare with nuts accompanied by filmjölk, a kind of sour milk similar to Greek yogurt but less thick. I ate meat with vegetables, salad and fruit for lunch and finally ended the day by meeting Magnus for dinner. While we had dinner we prepared all the material for the race: the wetsuits, the goggles, the paddles for swimming and the leg float. We finished the night with a flourish eating an exquisite pork tenderloin wrapped in grilled bacon with green salad and dried tomatoes. A surprise from Magnus who was the chef for the night!
On race day…
We get up at 6:30. 3 hours before the race I had the healthy muesli from the day before with two fried eggs and two tablespoons of coconut oil for breakfast, which gives me calories for that day. We sailed to Gothenburg ready and in high spirits even when the weather was awful.
This time Magnus and I decided to use a bungee cord that held us together at all times. In theory, it allowed us to help each other in the strengths of each other, for example: Magnus swims much better than me and he could help me. I run much better than Magnus and I could help him. However, I did not follow my own advice on how to prepare for a Swimrun because we did not practice with this tool before the race and those first 1000 meters of swimming were hell for me. The sea was very rough and I swallowed salt water while swimming. The worst thing is that the elastic rope got tangled up in my hands making me lose speed and time. It was very difficult to communicate with Magnus when there are 700 people around in the water.
From swimming to running, from swimming to running…
Getting to the next island was a relief and a challenge at the same time, I even cut my hand on a coral! But with sweat – and even blood – we managed to get up and continue the race through the 16 islands. We came to the conclusion that it was better to use the bungee cord only on the running portions and not in the water, which made the rest of the run better.
Something that I love about this race is that the landscape is constantly changing: from paths to stones, from stones to sandy beaches, from forests to roads. It is certainly a very inspiring rest for the eyes while you are doing the hard work of completing the course. I ran much better on trails and roads because in Madrid – a city made of cement – I usually run on a treadmill, so improving my speed on stones and sand is something I still have to practice a lot.
Magnus and I came in 49th position out of 250 teams, with a time of 5 hours and 10 minutes. A brand that is not bad considering that the wind, rain, cold and bungee cord made our experience much more difficult.
Magnus and I at the finish of the Öloppet Swimrun.
Back in Madrid, just 4 days before the race the experience seemed even romantic to me because during the competition I felt very bad. It was a suffering and I dreamed that it would end. Curious isn’t it? Like everything, there are moments when you are swimming or running that you feel the present, that you are very lucky to live such a moment and at the same time feel that you run out of breath or desire to continue: a rare combination between enjoying and suffering. But that’s how everything is in life, right? It is a good reflection that puts our feet on the ground.
This has been my second Swimrun and I’m glad I did it. It helped me a lot for my next race – which was the Ironman -, the ninth I did and to focus on training hard for the tenth and meet a new goal.